Residency artists and researchers

Performing arts, performance art

Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi

Multidisciplinary “Artivist”/Curator/Mentor/Philanthropist/Artistic Director

Kuva | Photo: Jussi Virkkumaa

At the SAARI residency I would like to explore the performative rituals and our relationship to nature, spirituality, the earth and how we could together reimagine the future of the earth, ecology and other beings.

What would it mean to reconcile with the mother of all nations (the earth) and allow ourselves to be embraced once again by her love and offspring? Are we not already endangered and facing the consequences of our actions and inactions against the earth and the universe? It will also be important to reflect on our own privileges and positionalities with climate and ecological crises and activism.

I am curious and interested to meet, and discuss the relationship of our body, soul and spirituality to the earth through a series of performative workshops, interventions and interactive engagements with local/international artists and non-artists in and around Saari and Mynämäki. Among the Ewes and Ashantis of Ghana, the Earth is referred to as mother, the womb and the origin of life which I am looking forward to sharing and exploring further in unfamiliar spaces and traditions as a global womb that brings forth its offspring in diversity and uniqueness. As a performance artist who has actively used clay in rituals and as a personal grounding over a decade exploring the connection between my body and the earth, mortality, birth, death, and the violence that we face as marginalised groups, I believe our energy and survival depends on such encounters with nature and spirituality.

As a multidisciplinary artivist and an artistic director of a similar residency in Ghana, I will be glad to share and exchange with fellows, and others who may be interested in my experiences, relevant skills and practical knowledge. Nevertheless, I am very open to new discoveries, mentoring and orientation that may redirect me towards other interesting encounters, and collaborations with residency fellows and mentors at Saari and beyond.


Born in 1981 in Ho, Ghana, Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi [aka crazinisT artisT] is a trans woman with the pronoun sHit if not She. Va-Bene currently lives in Kumasi, Ghana but works internationally as a multidisciplinary “artivist”, curator, philanthropist and a mentor across several countries. She is the founder and artistic director of crazinisT artisT studiO (TTO), Our Railway Cinema Gallery (ORCG) and perfocraZe International Artists Residency (pIAR) which aimed at radicalising the arts and promoting exchange between international and local artists, activists, researchers, curators, and critical thinkers. As a performer and installation artist, crazinisT investigates gender stereotypes, prejudices, queerness, identity politics and conflicts, sexual stigma and their consequences for marginalized groups or individuals. With rituals and a gender-fluid persona, She employs her own body as a thought-provoking tool in performances, photography, video, and installations, ‘life-and-live-art’ confronting issues such as disenfranchisement, injustice, violence, objectification, internalized oppression, anti-blackness, systemic indoctrination and many more.

crazinisT has performed and exhibited across the globe including countries such as Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Switzerland, South Africa, Germany, Netherlands, Cape Verde, USA, Spain, Brazil, France, Sweden, Hungary, Belgium, Luxembourg, Japan and UK.

sHit has also been featured in several publications and magazines such as the I-D Vice London, I-D Vice Dutch, Financial times, King Kong Magazine, CCQ London, Maimi Rails, ‘Freeflowingvisuals’, TRT WORD Film Documentary, This is Africa, Art Ghana, Lost At E Minor, CNN, The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), Horizonte da Cena, Radio FRO, Reuters, Hyperallergic, etc.